Architect Lawrence Ler likes to keep his head firmly in the clouds. Singled out as one of 20 rising young architects by the Urban Redevelopment Authority in 2017, Ler has spearheaded projects such as Henderson Waves Bridge, ITE Headquarters and ITE College Central, as well as ones that reach as far as Kazakhstan — but he never loses his childlike sense of wonder.
It began with his final-year project in university. Ler wanted to create a conceptual “photo-park”, replete with planes that were dislocated in time and space. His classmates thought him impractical; Ler thought he would fail. But he eventually beat out hundreds of entrants to win the coveted RIBA President’s Medal for World’s Best Student Project.
Ler’s first success — and his magnum opus — came shortly after graduation. The Henderson Waves Bridge, with its emblematic curves that serve as both shelter and seat, won him the President’s Design Award for Design of the Year, to which Ler earnestly credits his own naivety. “Perhaps because I had so little experience, I wasn’t burdened by issues a seasoned architect would have,” he says.
Ler continues his ethos of creating structures to improve lives and promote sustainability as a design director at international design firm Gensler. But when he needs to dream, he still takes a moment or two to look up at the sky.